Some owners/managers of public institutions, such as schools, have often been surprised to be cited or prosecuted for environmental violations during asbestos abatement activities. Such proprietors may have contracted companies that prepared incomplete documentation for all phases of the abatement process. This article discusses some of the important items that you should ensure are properly documented when asbestos is removed or managed in your school.
Different jurisdictions usually have guidelines governing what kind of control measures should be implemented in order to prevent contaminated air from escaping to adjoining sections of a building in which asbestos management/abatement is being conducted. Such engineering controls may include warning signs, negative pressure enclosures, glove bags, and barrier tapes to keep people away from the abatement site.
The absence of engineering control measures in the documentation prepared can be construed to mean that no engineering controls were in place during the abatement project. This means that people were exposed to needless risks during the project. Checking the documentation for this information protects you from future liability when enforcers examine the documents.
Air Monitoring Mechanisms
The air within the affected section of the school should be tested to ensure that the air within the building is now free from asbestos contamination. The air must therefore be sampled and tested in order to confirm that it isn't contaminated with asbestos fibres.
Check the records and confirm that sample volumes are indicated for the different rooms where asbestos management activities took place. Test results should also be attached to each of the samples taken. In this way, inspectors will be certain that the school met all the regulations regarding air quality during abatement activities.
Details of Project Implementers
Specially-trained personnel are usually required to manage asbestos in public places, such as schools. It is therefore important that the documentation of the asbestos abatement or management project provides details about the key people, such as the project designer or asbestos consultant, that were in charge of the entire project. This information will reassure the enforcement authorities that competent people oversaw the project and conducted it in accordance with all the applicable laws.
Diagrams and Photos
The documentation should also include diagrams and photographs of the sections of the property where abatement or asbestos management work was done. Those diagrams and photos make it easy for future contractors to know the scope of the work that was previously done. Those records also help inspectors to establish what changes have taken place in the asbestos-containing materials since the previous management activities were done. The absence of photos and diagrams therefore leaves serious gaps that make it hard to conduct future work and inspections.
Hire a competent asbestos service provider who will provide detailed documentation for the entire project. This is important because you will remain ultimately responsible in case a mistake that exposes the public to asbestos was made during the abatement project.